If you are reading this article, you may be considering investing in a custom website. As a business owner, you’ll never stop investing in new tools and technologies, evaluating the competition, or improving company processes. While these are important strategies to keep your business a step above the rest, there’s one investment that combines all three strategies in one place—your company website.
Before you start building your new website, read on to find out why a well-designed custom website is so essential to business, what to consider before revamping your site, and how asking the right questions ensures investing your money in the best possible way.
Why A Custom Website Is Crucial to Company Growth
Appearances matter, especially in the business world. While every industry has its own rules and expectations, it’s always better to look put-together and professional. So what about potential customers meeting your brand online for the first time?
In our rapidly-evolving digital world, a beautiful website makes a great first impression, but a sloppy design is an instant turnoff. It’s like wearing your pajamas to a client meeting—everyone is uncomfortable but you.
In fact, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.
However, giving your website a makeover is an easy way to put your best (digital) face forward. Since technology is rapidly changing, a few years makes a huge difference in a website’s look, responsiveness, security, and discover-ability. With an attractive, up-to-date website, visitors will likely spend more time on your page—a good sign for building brand awareness and eventually leads.
Custom Websites vs. Pre-Built Templates
The adage is true, you get what you pay for. Yes, there are many website websites – ironic, right? – which allow you to build your own functional website for near pennies.
But if you’re going to do something as significant of creating and launch a business website, it can benefit you to do it right the first time. With a custom built website, you can have every aspect your own way.
Things like faster load times, better customization over images, colors and fonts, custom widgets, everything is customizable the way you want it.
No matter how you choose to build your website, know the process takes time and has a cost. Make sure to research and weigh the pros and cons of each option before investing money and time into it. And if you have questions, any good web design business should be willing to help every step of the way.
What To Consider When Updating Your Website
If you think your website is outdated, start by doing research on cost, hosting, design, content, and search engine optimization. Although every part of the website has some sort of cost attached, find out more on each major cost before diving into page after page of search results.
Domains can cost a couple cups of coffee a year, or enough to buy your favorite coffee shop outright. On average, $10-15 annually will cover registration for a new domain name. If you buy an aftermarket domain, one that’s already registered, it can be upwards of thousands or millions of dollars.
This service usually comes along with a domain name, but you can choose from a number of hosting platforms. The type of web hosting factors into the cost, such as is it on a shared server or dedicated. Inexpensive hosting often comes with a catch or two (whether data, time, speed, or functions), so do your homework in this area to find out what works for your website.
Content Management System
A CMS is exactly what it sounds like—a software designed to hold and manage the content of your website. Typically on CMS, users don’t need backgrounds in coding to update a blog post. An “About Us” page can be added in a matter of minutes. Since content is a broad term for what a website possesses, content management systems come with many options, add-ons, and a litany of price ranges.
CMS services on the low-end are often free. And who doesn’t like free? WordPress is a leader in this area, but also comes with a few caveats.
Since it’s free, WordPress is built for the masses; they offer free to reasonably priced themes for your site. But anyone else who feels the same theme speaks to their business and brand can use it also. It doesn’t take long for you and your competitor to show up at the dance wearing the same thing.
Website Design or Theme Creation
Since WordPress is an incredibly popular tool for web design, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of this platform. Some say WordPress is a website template, while others call it a CMS.
However, it’s both. Say you find a pre-designed theme that you truly like. It’s clean, easy to use, easy on the eyes, everything you want. But those color options, they’re too reminiscent of the shag carpet in your grandparents living room.
Maybe, you bring an entirely unique website idea to the table. Although mostly large-scale corporation and enterprise companies build websites from the ground up, anyone can. The catch is the more work that needs to be done, the more it’ll cost.
Design and creation take teamwork, skills, the collaboration between designer and client. Everything takes time, and time has cost.
Some clients supply the copy used on the final product. Others outsource it to the agency to have written in-house with guidance from them. Like designing and creating the website, copywriting isn’t done in a day.
Consider how many pages the final website will need to launch. This will also give you an idea of how much, if any, copywriting can be done by your business or would need handing off to a professional copywriter.
Search Engine Optimization
Outside of having a website, some would say SEO is the next most important thing for your business—it’s how people find your website. While handing out business cards, and spreading news of your website through word of mouth may work for awhile, eventually, those routes run cold. Plus, you can use the power of the internet!
All SEO costs vary, depending on how much behind-the-scenes work the agency will do each month. Optimization is not a one-time cost of website development, and once it begins, it doesn’t stop until a site is shut down.
Q&A: The Most Common Web Design Questions
How long does it take to develop a website?
Honestly, it really depends. The scope of the project can change, even if it seemed clear from the onset. Someone may find a feature the website needs half-way through the development process. Budgets change and a part may need scaling back.
Content delays happen from either the client or agency. This can be from communication, scheduling, workloads, or all the above. If the client is supplying the content, it can’t be put on the website by the developer until it’s received.
On top of it all, agency resources can weigh on the timeline. Often, vacations are planned long before a new website is added to the development schedule. Or an illness causes unexpected delays and days out of the office.
We all know life can get in the way of either the agency, client, or both, dictating how long it will take to develop a website. Which is why communication between everyone has to be established at the beginning and maintained to keep the project as on track as possible.
At Elevare, we typically allot 45 to 60 days to complete a website. This allows ample time for communication, discovery sessions, revisions, and anything else the website might need to be a high-quality final product.
Why do websites cost up to $10,000 or more?
While scanning through average prices and updated features, you’ll likely discover a new website is more expensive than what you paid a few years ago. A few phone calls to website design companies will reveal quotes higher than you imagined. After all, there are plenty of cheaper options you can do yourself online. And, as with most technology, the custom websites quotes may seem outrageous.
As a marketing agency with several web designers and developers, we’ve been in these situations many times. The quality of a new site comes down to cost for many people. Yet, prices can be broken into project pieces that, in turn, give the full picture. To understand the full scope, we’re sharing details on why a new custom website is worth the price tag.
In the mid-1990s, think 1995-1997, a website cost between $7,500-$12,000. The dot-com bust at the turn of the century saw prices plummet. Since 2009, low-cost websites began increasing from around $1,000, and high-cost websites rocketed upward from $4,000-$10,000.
So why the price increase?
Look at your hand or on your coffee table. Odds are you’re holding a smartphone, tablet, or have one within reach.
A good website is designed and developed for responsiveness. With this, the website needs to work on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. Today, we expect a website to respond and be 100% functional no matter the screen it’s viewed on.
Since every custom website we create is custom-tailored to your business, there are many factors involved so the design and function are successful in meeting goals. Our process includes the four phases outlined below:
- Discovery – We have a meeting to discuss your current business successes, challenges and opportunities.
- Analysis – We analyze which features of your website are working and which are not. Then, we create a plan to correct or include features to fit your business goals.
- Planning – We create a plan that encompasses everything from your branding and the colors of the site to calls to action, user experience, content and graphics/images, search engine capabilities, speed and more!
- Implementation – We then act on the plan upon your approval and create a killer custom website for your business.
This complex, results-oriented process can take between 50 hours to 100 hours or more, depending on how big your company is, how much content you have, how many services you offer, and what your marketing goals are.
Remember, there are many factors involved in producing the best product for your success. However, we wanted to share our current rate to give you an idea of what to expect when creating a custom website, which is $150 per hour.
In recent studies, we’ve found that most good web development companies charge $125 per hour and up for their services. Why? Because they have the knowledge, skills, and experience to create a product and deliver a service that works. In other words, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to marketing and websites!
Here’s an example of a new custom website project we recently completed.
Other Website Costs to Keep in Mind
There are hundreds of companies to choose from for hosting, averaging between $5 per month to $50 per month and up, depending on the packages. Elevare’s hosting starts at $20 per month. This includes threat scans, blazing fast upload and download speeds and a tested and proven minimal down-time. Our server is always up and running, unless we run an update for security reasons! We researched tons of features and products and found the best configuration for our clients in the industry. Plus, our custom websites are built to be faster too, so you get a double advantage over your competition!
Security and Backup
We charge $30 per month for an additional security and backup package. Your site is backed up daily and can be restored if anything should corrupt the site. I.e. an update messes something up or your site is hacked. Also, if anything does happen to your site, the labor for repair it is included for FREE. Without this package, a huge site would costs hundreds or even thousands to fix if corrupted or hacked!
Search Engine Optimization
Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean it will get found online by people searching for a product or service you offer. We offer Search Engine Optimization packages starting at $1,500 monthly. This includes managing content, creating new content, following all up to date Google practices for search engine optimization and more to help your website show up when people need you. It’s a full service package that allows you to grow your business the right way!
Designing the Best Custom Website For Your Business
Wow—you just absorbed a lot of information about what it means to invest in a custom website. While some of these topics can seem tricky at first, the more you research, the easier it is to understand exactly what you want on your site. Trust us—the rewards of an amazing site are worth it.
If you have more questions on custom websites, or want help designing your own, give us a call! You can also fill out the short form below. We’re happy to hear your vision and help your business stand out online.